They’re back in school. Do you know what your tweens are really up to? A guide for parents.
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18% of eighth graders have experimented with marijuana at least once
Our source: a National Institute on Drug Abuse study. Also alarming is news
that girls are now trying the drug more than boys are.
What you can do: Research shows that kids are 36 percent less likely to
smoke marijuana if they learn about the risks from their parents, so talk to
your child. And don't wait-experts say that some kids use drugs for the first
time at age nine.
A good way to begin the dialogue: "Have you heard kids talking about
drugs at school?" (Responding to a survey on goodhousekeeping.com, 45
percent of tweens said that some classmates sold drugs.)
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48% of seventh graders admitted copying homework
Our source: a Rutgers University survey. Afraid your tween might be
What you can do: Don't address what your child did, say experts; address the
One common reason kids copy: They don't really want to be dishonest, but
they just don't understand the subject matter. If that's the case, go over the
homework with your child every night, making sure she grasps the concepts.
Another possible motive is that the child manages time poorly and then gets
The solution: Teach your tween how to organize and prioritize the
40% spend their lunch money on junk food
Our source: GH's online survey. What you can do to help kids make smarter
* Stock up on good-for-you snacks. The more kids eat healthy food at home, the
more they'll seek it out in other settings.
* Limit TV time. Studies show there's a connection between how much television
kids watch and how much junk they eat.
The good news: As of fall 2006, schools using the federal government's lunch
program are required to create a policy to meet nutrition standards. And by
2010, sodas won't be sold in middle schools.
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45% aren't thinking about school even when they're there
Our source: GH's online survey.
What they think about most when they're tuned out: Twenty percent are
focused on after-school plans; 12 percent, on popularity; and 13 percent, on
dating. One eighth grader from Florida confessed, "I usually space out and
think about what might happen in my future."
Breaking The Rules
Fifty-two percent admitted using swearwords at school. What you can do: Watch
your own language-parents are kids' greatest role models. You should also
explain that cursing can offend people or hurt their feelings. If bad language
continues to be a problem, ask the teacher to e-mail you a weekly behavior
report. Then let your child know that you and Mrs. Johnson will be in touch